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Five Hurdles to Listing on Amazon Germany
(As usual, Deepl has done most of the translation work:)
We have been working on a brand’s listing on Amazon Germany on behalf of the company. The work started in mid-November, and the actual listing was completed in February, which is about three months in total, although it probably takes a few weeks at most in Japan. In this blog, I will describe the five most difficult hurdles in the process of listing on Amazon Germany.
First, Amazon Germany (amazon.de) is actually the second largest marketplace marketplace after the United States. (Ref: Amazon ranking: Amazon’s best-selling URLs)
For the listing and opening of stores on Amazon USA (amazon.com), which is by far the No. 1 seller, we can get careful support from Amazon Japan (amazon.co.jp), such as the “Japan Store,” which is a partnership between JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and Amazon. Amazon Japan (amazon.co.jp) provides careful support for opening a store. On the other hand, the second-ranked amazon.de is in a situation where the necessary services for cross-border EC cannot be obtained by inquiring at amazon.co.jp.
Therefore, we proceeded with this request by researching and doing one by one. The following are the steps. (The following is only based on the information we researched at the time, so please check the latest information yourself!)
1) Establish a local bank account and corporation
This time, with the help of our Dutch partner company Southparc, we established a bank account and corporation in the Netherlands. This step was completed smoothly without any problems.
2) Obtain a VAT registration number
In EU countries, a value-added tax called VAT (Value Added Tax) is charged on transactions of goods and services. However, we suddenly needed to obtain a German VAT registration number, and according to an inquiry to Amazon Germany, this was due to a large number of Chinese businesses opening new stores. It seems that they are taking countermeasures by raising the hurdle: “You can’t sell your products unless you go through the necessary paperwork to obtain a German VAT number.”
3) Register product information
As with all Amazon marketplaces, you will need to register the product information of the products you wish to list. For some reason, we could not register product information one by one from the administration screen, and the only option was bulk product registration (uploading multiple products in Excel). We were finally able to register the products after trying various options.
4) Obtain an EPR number
Obtaining an EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) number was the most confusing part. The manufacturer had already obtained an EPR number, so there was no need for us to obtain one, but we kept getting an error message. After one month of registration, the error message was still there, so I contacted Amazon Germany and was frustrated because I had no idea what to do. After two months, I was finally told that the manufacturer’s EPR number was OK, and I seriously thought to myself, “I want my time back for all the nearly one hour I spent every day inquiring about this!” I seriously thought.
5) Work with low quality and speed of response
First of all, it took roughly 4-5 business days for a response. After 2 months, finally a proper person appeared on the scene, and he was able to shoot my question in less than 1 business day. After two months, a proper person finally appeared and did the shooting in less than one business day. I felt that this kind of response was the reason why cross-border e-commerce on Amazon marketplaces outside the U.S. is so difficult to progress.
This experience was extremely frustrating, but I still think that SOPHOLA’s strength and good point is its ability to respond quickly to such matters. We will continue to be light on our feet and take on new challenges!
Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO